Sometimes my life is like an episode of MAD TV. Always has been. I guess, always will.
This week specifically reminded me of this classic MAD TV skit called "Shot In The Head"
I got "shot" in the head alright but it was to my face and repeatedly.
Now imagine receiving the following questions as blood is shooting out of my nose and down my face: "Did you say or do anything to provoke the attack?" "How did you get yourself in this mess?" "Can you fill out this form? It will be an hour wait." And the best one, "How can I help you?...Have a nice day!"
This week, a few days before going on vacation, I began the day looking for my partner Maurice's long-lost button.
Later in the day, I was physically attacked.
That's quite the leap, no? It was unprovoked and was NOT a gay bashing. I was just in the right place -- I guess you could say -- at the wrong time.
And I didn't see it coming.
Isn't it always the way? Oh, I've been in similar situations before. Like when I arrived home nine years ago and I hit play on our, then, old-fashioned answering machine:
"I'm going to tag your toe."
And that was left by a neighbour at our former residence. It seems I've always been able to rely upon the kindness of such strangers.
I remember clear as yesterday, my partner and I immediately went to the local police station to see what could be done. We were told, "This is not a criminal offence."
Since we knew the name and address of the caller, we asked, "Couldn't an officer come out and talk to him?"
"If that would make you feel better, yes."
We were shocked at this reaction at the front desk -- and a female officer no less! As she took down our information, my partner stated loudly, "Guess, Donald, you'd have to have your 'toe tagged' before charges could be pressed!"
"Battered women go through this all the time!" I chimed in.
Silence from behind the desk.
Three hours later (after midnight), an officer arrived to listen to our taped recording of the threat. I point blank asked, "Can he just do this?" As he paused, my partner piped up. "I understand the House of Commons recently passed Bill C-250 making it illegal to propagate hate based on sexual orientation."
"I'll be honest. I'm not too familiar with that bill. But, listen, I'll go over and 'warn' the man. Do you mind if I take the tapes as evidence?"
Indeed, the telephone threats stopped. In fact, months later, I bumped into the offender. Apologetically, he chirped, "I was inebriated."
"Have a nice day," is all I could muster in reply.
And going back further in my rolodex of "encounters," I was attacked outside a gay club in the '80s (as was my then partner). The injuries were insignificant next to the shock of the experience itself. I know it's hard to believe but I had never even thought of the possibility of being attacked as I had parked outside that building and walked in scores of times before. My partner and I didn't let this bother us and we never considered not visiting the bar because of the incident. Within a week it was business as usual.
Personally, I accept no responsibility for being a possible target for misplaced anger but, by incident number three, forgive my jaded feeling that my life is a series of skits and I just happen to be the featured performer.
As I stated at the outset, the current attack was due to me being in the line of fire, you could say. If it wasn't me, it would have been someone else.
People think they know what they will do in such a situation. The truth is, initially, one is in shock. I did not realize or see the blood at first. I was knocked off balance and I needed to assess the situation and develop a strategy quickly. Since I was being repeatedly pounded this time, I fought back and was able to free myself.
I called a friend who was nearby and asked her to take me to a walk-in clinic. I wagered an emergency room at one of our hospitals would be more in line with the MAD TV skit.
So we arrived at the closest clinic and a full room of patients reacted to my face in silence. The receptionist said, "How can I help you?"
I was just beat up. How long before I could see a doctor?"
My friend suggested another clinic not far away. We drove to walk-in clinic number two.
Another E. F. Huttton moment as I walked in dripping blood. Everyone froze staring at me. Their expressions suggesting, what the hell happened?
This time I didn't wait for the receptionist's "How may I help you?"
"I was just beat up so how long before I can see a doctor?"
She verbally counted her files, then OHIP cards and once again, I heard, "An hour."
This time we waited. We couldn't sit beside each other because the room only had single seats. I thought of the MAD TV skit and had my friend laughing at the comparison.
"I can't believe not one person at both offices offered to let me in line sooner. How much blood do I have to lose to break the line? Maybe if I had a weapon stuck in my face, I could get in sooner. I mean, they're not even moving so we can sit beside each other!"
You should have seen the people stare when both of us were laughing discussing the absurdity of the situation and in a good mood as I dabbed the blood on my face with a cloth.
By the time I sat in the doctor's office and heard, "How did you get yourself in this mess?" and based on Maurice and my experience being serious at the police station years ago, I wondered if humour would move things quicker.
"You should see the other guy! I just want to know if anything is broken, please."
A smirk and no small talk later, after examining me, she says, "Besides the marks on your face, you have a broken blood vessel in your nose. You'll be fine."
What a relief. I was happy I was OK. Certainly I was shook up, but on the ride home, I joked, "All in all, a good day. At least I found Maurice's button!"
In the hours and couple days since, when I had to solve a problem there or could I answer this question immediately here, I just smiled and considered them commercial breaks in the MAD TV episode that is my life.
Follow Donald D'Haene on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@TheDonaldNorth